LOGAN, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Utah State head football coach Matt Wells announced his first signing class on Wednesday, as part of National Signing Day. The class, which includes 24 total players, is comprised of 16 high school athletes, six junior college transfers and two return LDS Church Missionaries.
The state of Utah produced the most signees with 11, (12 including returning missionaries), followed by three from the state of Arizona. USU also signed two players each from California and Texas, and one player from Alabama, Oregon, New Jersey, Virginia and Wisconsin.
"We are really excited about this signing class and the group of young men who will represent Utah State University both on and off the football field," said Wells. "The most impressive thing for me during the recruiting period was how this class stayed with us through the coaching transitions, and how dedicated and loyal they were to Utah State and our football program."
The greatest emphasis in Wells' first recruiting class was at offensive line as Utah State signed five student-athletes at that position, to go along with four wide receivers. The Aggies also secured three defensive linemen and two players each at cornerback, linebacker, safety, running back and tight end. One kicker and one quarterback rounded out the 2013 class.
"This class was really geared toward bringing in young, talented players on the offensive line and then junior college players at the skilled positions. We added talent in the back end of our defense in the secondary, along with at running back and wide receiver on offense."
In all, Utah State's 2013 class includes 14 recruits on offense, nine on defense and one special teams performer.
"Another aspect of our recruiting that was definitely met was emphasizing the state of Utah, and first and foremost recruiting inside Cache Valley. We also brought in some kids from out of state that fit our needs and will also thrive on campus."
Three new players are already attending classes at Utah State in freshmen offensive linemen Andrew Chen and Brandon Taukeiaho (Dow-k-a-ho), and freshman defensive end Ricky Ali'ifua (Ah-lee-ee-foo-uh). Chen originally signed with USU in 2012, Taukeiaho originally signed with USU in 2010 and Ali'ifua originally signed with USU in 2009. Both Ali'ifua and Taukeiaho are return LDS Missionaries.
With the conclusion of signing day, Utah State will now prepare for spring practice which begins on Tuesday, March 19 and concludes with its annual Blue-White Spring Game on Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m.
RICKY ALI'IFUA DE • 6-3 • 275 • FR • HS • San Leandro, Calif. (San Leandro HS)
High School: Earned all-Hayward Area league honors as well as all-Metro and all-East Bay accolades as a prep senior at San Leandro (Calif.) High School as he posted 50 tackles his senior season in 2008, including a team-best five sacks in addition to one fumble recovery... Also had one reception at tight end... Led the Pirates to the playoffs after a 7-4 record, going undefeated in league action... Also a two-year letterwinner in baseball and one year in basketball, playing pitcher, third base and outfield in baseball and forward in basketball... A member of the San Leandro HS honor roll.
Personal: Born Dec. 2, 1991 in Harbor City, La... Son of Mila and Ituala Ali'ifua... Has three brothers and two sisters... His brother, Eric, played offensive tackle at Southeast Missouri State... Served a two-year LDS Church Mission to Oklahoma City, Okla... Originally signed with Utah State in 2009, but did not enroll until the spring semester of 2013... Undeclared on a college major... Last name is pronounced Ah-lee-ee-foo-uh.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Ricky Ali'ifua: "Ricky has great upper body strength, and we are excited to see what he can do in spring ball."
CADEN ANDERSEN DL • 6-3 • 245 • FR • HS • Logan, Utah (Logan HS)
High School: Earned first-team all-state honors as a prep junior and was the Region 5 Defensive Line MVP as he accumulated 94 tackles (32 solo, 62 assists) and 3.0 sacks, while forcing three fumbles and recovering one in helping Logan HS win the 4A state championship... Was the top tackler in 4A among all defensive linemen... Earned first-team all-region honors as a sophomore and was an all-Valley selection as both a sophomore and junior... Also lettered four years in lacrosse... A member of the honor roll... Did not play during his senior season due to injury.
Personal: Born Nov. 28, 1994... One of four children of Roger and Mindy Andersen... Plans on serving a two-year LDS Church Mission before enrolling at Utah State... Wants to major in pre-medicine.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Caden Andersen: "Caden is a tough, interior defensive lineman, who should contribute immediately once he returns from his LDS Church Mission."
CODY BOYER OL • 6-6 • 262 • FR • HS • St. George, Utah (Pineview HS)
High School: Earned second-team all-state honors as a prep senior at Pineview High School in St. George, Utah... Was part of an offensive line that helped the Panthers average 29.0 points per game in 2012, while producing 248.5 passing yards and 140.5 rushing yards per game... Earned first-team all-region honors as both a sophomore and junior as he was a three-year starter on the offensive line... Also played basketball for Pineview HS.
Personal: Born Nov. 4, 1994.... One of three children of Kevin and Shellee Boyer... His dad was an offensive lineman at Dixie State and Southern Utah... His older brother, K.J., is currently a sophomore at Dixie State playing on the defensive line... Both his uncle and grandfather went to Utah State... Plans on majoring in exercise science at Utah State.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Cody Boyer: "Cody is a tall, long and athletic offensive lineman that plays with great toughness."
RONALD BUTLER WR • 6-0 • 190 • JR • JC • Jersey City, N.J. (Lincoln HS/Contra Costa College)
Junior College: Earned first-team all-conference, first-team all-region and first-team all-state honors during his sophomore season at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif., as he caught 55 passes for 870 yards (79.1 ypg) and a school record 13 touchdowns... Also had five carries for 44 yards (8.8 ypc) and four kick returns for 69 yards (17.25 ypr)... Was named the Offensive MVP of the Living Breath Foundation Bowl as he caught six passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-25 victory over Monterey Peninsula... As a freshman in 2011, he caught 19 passes for 448 yards with two touchdowns.
High School: Played quarterback, wide receiver and cornerback at Lincoln (N.J.) High School and twice earned first-team all-Hudson County honors... Was named one of the top 100 players in the state of New Jersey as a prep senior as he earned first-team all-state honors and played in the New Jersey All-Star game... As a prep senior in 2010, he threw for 1,284 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 980 yards and 13 touchdowns to help lead the Trojans to the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 title game... Also played centerfield on the baseball team during his freshman season.
Personal: Born November 4, 1991... Has three brothers... Parents are Billy Jean Butler and Audie Dickson... Older brother, Ronnie Cutler, played safety and wide receiver at Monmouth University... Plans on majoring in physical education at Utah State.... Played at the same junior college as fellow Aggie signee Rashad Hall... Was also recruited by Iowa State, Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Ronald Butler: "Ronald is fast and athletic and has good ball skills, and we expect him to come in and contribute immediately to our program."
ANDREW CHEN OL • 6-3 • 260 • FR • HS • West Hills, Calif. (Chaminade College Prep)
High School: Played left tackle at Chaminade High School in West Hills, Calif… Earned Chaminade HS Lineman of the Week honors a total of 16 times in career, including nine times in senior season and seven times as a junior... Also a two-year letterwinner in track and field in the shot put.
Personal: Born Feb. 19, 1994… Son of Chase Chen and Elise Backus… Majoring in communications... Originally signed with Utah State in 2012, but did not enroll until the spring semester of 2013... Last name is pronounced Chin.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Andrew Chen: "Andrew is a very athletic offensive lineman that we expect a lot out of starting in spring ball."
MARWIN EVANS CB • 6-1 • 190 • JR • JC • Oak Creek, Wis. (Oak Creek HS/Highland CC)
Junior College: Earned honorable mention Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference honors following his sophomore season at Highland (Kan.) Community College as he recorded 48 tackles and had two interceptions... Also returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown... Played his freshman season at Rochester (Minn.) CC.
High School: Earned first-team Southeast Conference honors and was an honorable mention all-area selection as a prep senior at Oak Creek (Wis.) High School... Was also named his team's Defensive Back of the Year following his senior season... Earned honorable mention all-conference honors as a junior... Also played basketball and was a member of the track team during his first two years of high school, competing in the 100 and 200 meters.
Personal: Born April 10, 1993... One of three sons of Jeanel Crawley... Older brother, Marquise, played running back at Concordia University in Mequon, Wis... Plans on majoring in criminal justice at Utah State... Was also recruited by Hawai'i, Indiana, Southern Mississippi, UTSA, Toledo and Wisconsin.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Marwin Evans: "Marwin is a combo defensive back that has cornerback skills in a safety body. He has really good footwork and speed and is a physical tackler."
TYLER FOX WR • 5-11 • 160 • FR • HS • Layton, Utah (Layton HS)
High School: Earned second-team all-state honors as a defensive back as a prep senior at Layton (Utah) High School as he had 34 tackles, five interceptions and six passes defended... Earned first-team all-region and all-area honors as a wide receiver as he caught 53 passes for 801 yards (15.1 ypc) with five touchdowns and had four 100-yard receiving games during the year... Also carried the ball 12 times for 96 yards (8.0 ypc) with three touchdowns and returned 17 kickoffs for 406 yards (23.88 ypr)... Was a team captain... Had 10 catches for 94 yards (9.4 ypr) and 19 carries for 60 yards (3.15 ypg) with two touchdowns as a junior... Also had 16 tackles and two interceptions and returned 19 kickoffs for 390 yards (20.53 ypr) during his junior season.
Personal: Born Aug. 15, 1995... One of two children of Jason and Leslie Joe... His dad played basketball at Weber State University... Plans on majoring in business management at Utah State.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Tyler Fox: "Tyler is an athletic football player who played both sides of the ball in high school. He possesses great reaction ability to go along with tremendous ball skills."
DARELL GARRETSON QB • 6-0 • 200 • FR • HS • Chandler, Ariz. (Chandler HS)
High School: Earned first-team all-state and first-team all-district honors as a prep senior at Chandler (Ariz.) High School as he was 211-of- 316 (.668) passing for 3,065 yards with 27 touchdowns and just six interceptions... Passed for at least 400 yards five times during his senior season... Also rushed for 347 yards and seven touchdowns as he helped the Wolves to a 7-4 record... Was named the U.S. Marine Corps Elite Warrior Arizona Player of the Year and National Football Foundation Danny White Award winner as the top quarterback in Arizona as a prep senior... Was also his high school's MVP and a National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete... Earned honorable mention all-state and first-team all-section honors during his junior year as he completed 108-of-180 passes for 2,051 yards with 19 touchdowns and six interceptions... Ranks first all-time at Chandler HS in career passing yards (5,450) and career passing touchdowns (50), while also ranking first for a single season in passing yards (3,056), passing touchdowns (27), completions (211), attempts (316) and completion percentage (.668)... Was also named the 2012 Semper Fidelis Junior Rank Southwest Combine Offensive MVP.
Personal: Born July 15, 1994... One of four children of Richard and Wendy Garretson... His dad played wide receiver at San Diego State and his older brother, Leshawn George, played wide receiver at Montana... Has a cousin, Jason Garretson, who plays basketball at MidAmerica Nazarene University... Plans on majoring in business at Utah State... Was also recruited by Colorado and San Jose State.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Darell Garretson: "Darell is an athletic quarterback with a very strong arm. He has a lot of moxie and quarterback smarts, and we expect him to come in and compete."
BRADEN HARRIS LB • 6-3 • 220 • FR • HS • Gunnison, Utah (Gunnison Valley HS)
High School: Earned first-team all-state and all-region honors as a prep senior at Gunnison Valley (Utah) High School as he recorded 80 tackles, 4.0 sacks and recovered two fumbles... Recorded double-digit tackles in four games, including a career-high 16 against Beaver HS... Also blocked two punts... Rushed for 626 yards on 100 carries with six touchdowns and had two 100-yard rushing games, including a career-high 181 yards on 19 carries (9.53 ypc) against American Leadership Academy... Also had four receptions for 36 yards during the season... Earned first-team all-state and all-region honors during his junior season after recording 88 tackles, 4.0 sacks, four fumble recoveries and one interception in just nine games... Also rushed for 517 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 389 receiving yards and four more touchdowns... Earned first-team all-region and second-team all-state honors as a sophomore as he had 105 tackles... Was a two-way starter in each of his final three years at linebacker and running back... Was named the National Underclassmen Football Combine MVP in 2011... Is the first Division I football player ever from Gunnison Valley HS... Is also a four-year letterwinner in both baseball and basketball... A member of the honor roll.
Personal: Born Aug. 26, 1994... One of three sons of Fred and Christine Harris... Plans on serving a two-year LDS Church Mission before enrolling at Utah State... Undecided on a college major... Was also recruited by UNLV.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Braden Harris: "Braden is a tough, strong and hard-nosed linebacker that has a knack for finding the football."
RASHAD HALL RB • 6-1 • 205 • JR • JC • Lynchburg, Va. (Britain Academy/Contra Costa College)
Junior College: Earned first-team all-conference and all-Bay Area honors as a sophomore at Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Calif., as he carried the ball 226 times for 1,402 yards (6.2 ypc) and 16 touchdowns... Averaged 127.5 rushing yards per game as he helped the Comets to an 8-3 record and an appearance in the Living Breath Foundation Bowl... Had a season-long run of 59 yards... Ranked sixth in the state of California in both rushing yards and rushing touchdowns... Also caught nine passes for 57 yards (6.3 ypr)... As a freshman at Contra Costa College, he rushed for 644 yards on 116 carries (5.6 ypc) with four touchdowns, averaging 71.6 yards per game... Had a career-long run of 86 yards for a touchdown... Also had nine catches for 50 yards (5.6 ypr).
High School: Was ranked the No. 67 running back in the country by ESPN and the No. 5 running back prospect in North Carolina as a prep senior at Oak Ridge Military Prep, which competed as an independent, in Oak Ridge, N.C... Rushed for 1,100 yards and scored 15 touchdowns in leading the Cadets to a perfect 10-0 record during his senior year... Earned first-team all-Seminole District and second-team all-Times honors by the Roanoke Times during his junior year at Jefferson Forest High School in Forest, Va., as he rushed for 1,437 yards with 17 touchdowns... Also had 150 receiving yards... Rushed for 839 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore... Overall, he rushed for 3,376 yards and scored 42 touchdowns during his high school career, including a career-best 218 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns in a 14-6 win against Turner Ashby HS... Also ran track in high school, competing in the 100, 200 and 300 meters, as well as the 4x100-meter relay.
Personal: Born Dec. 5, 1991... One of six children of Tierra Hall... Plans on majoring in sports medicine at Utah State... Played at the same junior college as fellow Aggie signee Ronald Butler... Originally signed with Colorado out of high school and was also recruited by California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington... Was recruited by Colorado and San Jose State as a junior college player, along with USU.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Rashad Hall: "Rashad is very good in open space and hard to tackle. He has breakaway speed and has really good ball skills out of the backfield."
KEYLON HOLLIS LB • 6-2 • 235 • JR • JC • Houston, Texas (Cypress Creek HS/Bakersfield College)
Junior College: Was named the National North Conference Defensive Player of the Year in the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) as a sophomore at Bakersfield College as he had 68 tackles (52 solo, 16 assist) and 16.5 sacks... Led the Renegades to an 11-2 record and the CCCAA state championship with a 35-14 win against City College of San Francisco... Earned first-team all-conference honors during his freshman season as he had 42 tackles, including 17.0 for loss, to go along with 12.5 sacks.
High School: Earned first-team all-district honors and second-team all-state accolades as a prep senior at Cypress Creek High School in Houston, Texas as he helped the Cougars to a 9-4 record... Recorded 48 tackles and had 22 sacks during his senior year... Also earned first-team all-district honors as a junior... Competed in both the 4x100 and 4x200 relays teams on the track and field team as well... Played at the same high school as current Aggie quarterback Chuckie Keeton.
Personal: Born Dec. 25, 1992... Parents are Tina Hollis and Alric Oliver... Has two sisters... Undecided on a college major... Was also recruited by Arizona.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Keylon Hollis: "Keylon is a playmaker that knows how to rush a passer and play in space. He is a very good tackler that can play multiple positions on defense."
WYATT HOUSTON TE • 6-5 • 245 • FR • HS • Tualatin, Ore. (Horizon Christian HS)
High School: Earned second-team all-state honors as he accounted for 41 total touchdowns as a prep senior at Horizon Christian High School in Tualatin, Ore., as he passed for nearly 2,500 yards and rushed for 900 yards ... Earned first-team all-state honors during his junior season as he was 154-of-265 passing for 2,054 yards with 18 touchdowns and six interceptions... Also rushed for 692 yards on 163 carries with five touchdowns as a junior... Was also an all-state basketball player during his sophomore and junior seasons... Is a member of the National Honor Society and leader for Fellowship of Christian Athletes... Named Horizon Christian HS Spanish Student of the Year as a freshman... Is the first athlete from his high school to sign a Division I scholarship in any sport.
Personal: Born June 21, 1994... One of three children of Bill and Susie Houston... Dad played tight end at Air Force... Great uncle, David Sawyer, played basketball at Pittsburgh... Grandfather played minor league baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates... Undecided on a college major... Was also recruited by Oregon State and Washington State.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Wyatt Houston: "Wyatt is a really good athlete that played football, basketball and baseball in high school. He has great hands and ball skills, and we look forward to his development as he transitions to the tight end position."
KARRIS JOHNSON RB • 5-11 • 205 • FR • HS • San Ramon, Calif. (California HS)
High School: Earned first-team all-East Bay Athletic League honors as a running back during his senior season at California High School in San Ramon, Calif., as he rushed for 1,301 yards on 150 carries (108.4 ypg) and 20 touchdowns... Overall, he accounted for 25 touchdowns and had 2,000 all-purpose yards as a prep senior as he also earned second-team all-metro accolades as a utility player... Was named the Peter Villa Award winner, which is annually given to the top football player in the district... Named his team's MVP as he helped the Grizzlies to a 10-3 record as they advanced to the semifinals of the state playoffs... Competed in track and field as well running the 100 and 200 meters, along with the 4x100 meter relay and long jump... Won the sectional championship in both the long jump and 4x100 relay during his sophomore year and earned all-league honors in the long jump.
Personal: Born Aug. 30, 1995... One of two sons of Chris and Alexis Johnson... Father played basketball at Saint Mary's... Uncle, Craig Johnson, played basketball at Santa Clara... Plans on majoring in criminal justice at Utah State... Was also recruited by California, Cal Poly and Colorado State... First name is pronounced Care-is.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Karris Johnson: "Karris is a tough, physical, down-hill runner with breakaway speed. He does a great job catching the football out of the backfield and has a knack for getting past the initial tackler."
JOE MALANGA OL • 6-4 • 260 • FR • HS • South Jordan, Utah (Bingham HS)
High School: Earned Region 4 first-team honors along with second-team all-state accolades as a prep senior at Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah as the Miners averaged 33.8 points per game, while passing for 202.0 yards and rushing for 150.8 yards per outing... During his senior season, helped the Miners to a 10-3 record as they lost to Syracuse in the semifinals of the 5A state playoffs... Was named his team's Offensive Lineman of the Year as a prep senior... Also played basketball at Bingham HS during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Personal: Born Oct. 12, 1994... One of five children of Joseph and Chantal Malanga... Plans on majoring in business at Utah State... Was also recruited by BYU and Oregon State... Last name is pronounced Ma-laa-nga.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Joe Malanga: "Joe is an athletic offensive lineman who has really good footwork and plays longer than his 6'4" frame."
JEREMY MORRIS CB • 5-11 • 185 • JR • JC • Chandler, Ariz. (Chandler HS/Mesa CC)
Junior College: Earned second-team all-Arizona Community College Athletic Conference honors as a sophomore at Mesa Community College in Mesa, Ariz., as he helped the Thunderbirds to an appearance in the Valley of the Sun Bowl... Finished his sophomore season second on the team with four interceptions and 10th in tackles with 40 (32 solo, 8 assist)... Also had 11 pass breakups, which ranked second on the team, and returned a fumble 40 yards.... Spent his freshman season at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College.
High School: Prepped at Chandler (Ariz.) High School and caught 14 passes for 263 yards with five touchdowns during his senior season... Also carried the ball four times for 13 yards with one touchdown... Defensively, had 27 tackles (16 solo, 11 assist) to go along with two interceptions, 10 passes defended and one fumble recovery... Also ran track as a sophomore and junior in the 100 and 200 meters and was a member of the 4x100 relay team.
Personal: Born Aug. 4, 1992... One of three children of John Morris, Sr. and Cynthia Morris... Plans on majoring in criminal justice at Utah State... Was also recruited by New Mexico State.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Jeremy Morris: "Jeremy possesses very good man-to-man cover skills, which we will be able to utilize in several of our packages. He has good feet and was very well coached out of high school."
TYSHON MOSLEY OL • 6-5 • 305 • FR • HS • Sandy, Utah (Jordan HS)
High School: Earned first-team all-state honors as a prep senior at Jordan (Utah) High School as he helped the Beetdiggers to a 12-1 record and a 5A state championship, beating Syracuse HS in the title game.... Was part of an offensive line that helped average 44.1 points, 281.7 passing yards and 215.6 rushing yards per game... Was named MaxPreps Offensive Player of the Game four times during the 2012 season... Averaged 14.0 pancakes a game... Played basketball at Jordan HS as a freshman and sophomore and threw the shot put during his sophomore season as well.
Personal: Born Oct. 4, 1994... One of four children of James and Shay Mosley... Dad played linebacker at Dixie State... Was also recruited by BYU... Plans on majoring in sports medicine at Utah State.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Tyshon Mosely: "Tyshon is very strong and is a squared-body offensive lineman who has a bright future at Utah State."
DAX RAYMOND TE • 6-5 • 210 • FR • HS • Provo, Utah (Timpview HS)
High School: Earned first-team all-state honors and was a Utah Valley Elite 11 player as a prep senior at Timpview High School in Provo, Utah as he caught 74 passes for 1,458 yards (104.1 ypg) with 23 touchdowns... Had eight 100-yard receiving games during his senior season... Was a team captain... His 23 touchdown receptions are a single-season record in the state of Utah... Set single-season school records for receiving yards (1,458) and touchdowns (23)... Had 19 receptions for 179 yards with one touchdown as a junior... Is also a member of Timpview's basketball team and earned all-region honors as a junior.
Personal: Born Nov. 30, 1994... One of four children of Ronn and Alecia Raymond... His dad was a member of the BYU track and field team competing in the high jump, long jump, triple jump and relay teams... His brother, Ky, played basketball at Southern Virginia... Plans on serving a two-year LDS Church Mission before enrolling at Utah State... Wants to major in business... Was also recruited by BYU, Harvard and Utah.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Dax Raymond: "Dax is a tall, long and athletic tight end/inside receiver. He possesses very good ball skills and is a very good basketball player as well."
ZACH SWENSON S • 6-1 • 185 • FR • HS • Salt Lake City, Utah (East HS)
High School: Earned first-team all-state honors as a prep senior at East High School in Salt Lake City, Utah as he had 40 tackles and 3.5 sacks, to go along with 13 receptions for 304 yards and four touchdowns... A team captain... Was a member of the 2011 Utah 7-on-7 football team that won nationals in Las Vegas, Nev... Earned first-team all-region honors during his junior year as he had 27 tackles and one interception to go along with seven receptions for 88 yards... Also earned first-team all-region honors as a sophomore as he recorded 26 tackles and one interception... Was also a two-year letterwinner in soccer.
Personal: Born Aug. 12, 1994... One of four sons of Doug and Sherri Swenson... His brother, Sean, was a member of BYU's football team... Plans on a serving a two-year LDS Church Mission before enrolling at Utah State... Would like to major in business.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Zach Swenson: "Zach is a strong and physical athlete who can tackle in open space. He can play multiple positions, including cornerback, safety and outside linebacker, and he will contribute to our football field when he returns from his LDS Church Mission."
BRANDON TAUKEIAHO OL • 6-4 • 340 • FR • HS • South Jordan, Utah (Bingham HS)
High School: Earned honorable mention all-state honors as a prep senior as he helped Bingham High School to the 5A state championship with a 13-1 record in 2009... Paved way for Bingham offense that amassed 4,859 yards of total offense (347.1 yards per game) with 3,085 rushing yards (220.4 ypg) and 52 rushing touchdowns as well as 1,774 yards passing (126.7 ypg) with 22 passing touchdowns... Was a team captain during his senior season... Miners were 11-3 his junior season, losing in the state title game.
Personal: Born Dec. 19, 1991... Son of Maloni and Vea Taukeiaho... Mother, Vea, earned her master’s and doctorate degree from Utah State... Served a two-year LDS Church Mission in Houston, Texas... Originally signed with Utah State in 2010, but did not enroll until the spring semester of 2013... Last name is pronounced Dow-k-a-ho.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Brandon Taukeiaho: "Brandon is a return LDS Missionary who has a bright future ahead of him as he continues to progress on the practice field and in the weight room."
JAKE THOMPSON K • 6-0 • 200 • FR • HS • Logan, Utah (Logan HS)
High School: Played in just three games as a prep senior at Logan (Utah) High School and was 2-of-2 on field goals with a long of 49 yards and 7-of-9 on extra points... Punted seven times for an average of 38.29 yards with a long of 53 yards... Also had four catches for 51 yards and one touchdown... A 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl Nominee and USA U-19 Team Nominee... Earned first-team all-state and first-team all-region honors during his junior year as he helped Logan HS win the 4A state championship... Was 10-of-12 on field goals as a junior with a career long of 51 yards as he was also named to the all-Valley team... Earned first-team all-region and all-Valley honors during his sophomore season after making 6-of-9 field goals with a long of 49 yards... Was 5-for-5 on field goals during his freshman year with a long of 35 yards... During his four-year prep career, he never missed a field goal inside of 40 yards... Also earned all-Valley and all-region honors during his junior year on the Grizzlies baseball team playing first base and pitcher... Was also an all-Valley baseball player as a sophomore.
Personal: Born Sept. 7, 1994... One of three children of Brian and Christi Thompson... Older brother, Josh, is a junior placekicker for the Aggies... Plans on majoring in business at Utah State.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Jake Thompson: "Jake has a very strong leg and has the talent and ability to kickoff, punt and placekick, and brings athleticism to that position."
MYRON TURNER S • 5-11 • 170 • FR • HS • DeSoto, Texas (DeSoto HS)
High School: Earned honorable mention all-state honors as a prep senior at DeSoto (Texas) High School as he helped his team to a 14-1 record and to the semifinals of the state playoffs... During his senior year, he recorded 82 tackles, including two for loss, to go along with 14 pass breakups, one interception and one fumble recovery... Was given the Ellis Hobbs Award which is annually given to an individual who excells on the field and in the classroom, and also has great character... DeSoto HS was ranked third nationally and second in the state of Texas in 2012... Also competed in track and field in the 100 and 200 meters.
Personal: Born March 15, 1995... Parents are Myron Turner, Sr., and LaMonica Turner... Has one sister... His uncle, Lafayette Turner, played safety at Texas A&M... Plans on majoring in mechanical engineering at Utah State... Was also recruited by Washington State.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Myron Turner: "Myron can play both cornerback and safety and is always around the football. He has good instincts and speed, to go along with good ball skills."
RYAN WATSON WR • 6-0 • 180 • JR • JC • Decatur, Ala. (Austin HS/Golden West College)
Junior College: Caught 27 passes for 331 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore at Golden West College in Huntington Beach, Calif... Also had 39 tackles and two interceptions as a safety... Helped the Rustlers to the Central Championship Bowl title during his freshman season as he has 29 catches for 439 yards and six touchdowns, to go along with four special teams tackles... Also a member of the Golden West College track and field team and competed in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, as well as both relays during his freshman year... Placed fifth at the Orange Empire Conference Championship Meet in both the 100 and 200 meters, and recorded a pair of third-place finishes on the 4x100 and 4x400 meter relay teams.
High School: Earned all-region, all-area and honorable mention all-state honors as a defensive back during his senior season at Austin (Ala.) High School... Was an all-region, all-area and honorable mention all-state wide receiver as a junior... Also played soccer and basketball in high school and ran the 100, 200 and 400 meters along with being a member on both relay teams.
Personal: April 23, 1992... One of four children of Greg and Jennifer Nance... Cousin, Rishard Goode, is a freshman defensive back at Troy... His sister, Teosha Ray, is a freshman basketball player at Florida State Community College... Plans on majoring in criminal justice at Utah State... Was also recruited by Charlotte, Colorado State, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, Southern Mississippi and UAB.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Ryan Watson: "Ryan possesses great speed and can really stretch the field. He has great ball skills and is a good route runner, and we expect Ryan to come in and compete for playing time immediately."
HAYDEN WEICHERS WR • 6-0 • 170 • FR • HS • South Jordan, Utah (Bingham HS)
High School: Earned second-team all-state honors and was named the Region 4 Offensive MVP as a prep senior at Bingham (Utah) High School as he had 38 catches for 788 yards and nine touchdowns... Also his team's MVP and a team captain... Defensively, he recorded 38 tackles, to go along with one sack, and had three interceptions playing defensive back... Also spent two years on the track and field team competing in the 100 meters, long jump, high jump and team relays.
Personal: Born Oct. 27, 1994... One of four children of Greg and Anne Weichers... His dad played football at BYU... Also has three uncles that played football at BYU and one uncle who played tennis at BYU... Plans on majoring in pre-med... Was also recruited by BYU... Last name is pronounced Wick-ers.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Hayden Weichers: "Hayden is a quick athlete with very good ball skills that runs great routes and knows how to use angles on the football field."
JACOBY WILDMAN DL • 6-3 • 260 • FR • HS • Logan, Utah (Logan HS)
High School: Earned honorable mention all-state honors and first team all-region accolades as a prep senior at Logan (Utah) High School as he had 85 tackles (26 solo, 59 assists), to go along with 7.5 sacks, four caused fumbles, one interception and one blocked field goal... Was also named to the all-Valley team as a senior... Earned second-team all-state honors, along with first-team all-region and all-Valley accolades during his junior year as he recorded 82 tackles to go along with a team-leading 6.5 sacks... Also had two fumble recoveries, two quarterback hurries and one interception during his junior season as Logan HS won the 4A state championship... Earned all-region honors as a sophomore as well... Is a four-year letterwinner in both wrestling and lacrosse and finished fourth at the state wrestling championship in the heavyweight division during his junior year... Is currently 37-1 as a heavyweight wrestler during his senior year and ranked No. 1 in the state at that weight class... A member of the honor roll.
Personal: Born Feb. 18, 1995... One of five children of Mike and Stephanie Wildman... His uncle, Dennis Wildman, played linebacker at Utah State in 1987... Plans on serving a two-year LDS Church Mission before enrolling at Utah State... Wants to major in criminal justice.
Head Coach Matt Wells on Jacoby Wildman: "Jacoby is a tough, hard-nosed, physical defensive lineman that has all the intangibles to be a very good football player."